Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Melanie Manchot

Namita & Zena II

Namita & Zena II

Melanie Manchot. Namita & Zena II, 2001.

'Zena & Namita II' is the second image in a triptych which belongs to the Fontainbleau Series, consisting of four such triptychs in total. The series takes as its starting point the well known anonymous image in the Louvre of Gabrielle d'Estree and her sister in the bath. Throughout its existence this work has over and again caught people's curiosity and attention and has recurred as reference for artists across generations. Drawn to the very ambiguity of the gesture as well as to the contrast between the intimacy of the touch and the blankness of the protagonists expression I set out to work with different sets of women restaging the situation. The invited women have different types of relationships to each other and how this manifests across the three images is a process of discussion, collaboration and experimentation. In each case I ask the two women to first restage the image itself and to then continue to find gestures and moments of touch while remaining constrained within the confines of the bath.


intimacy, gesture, photography, nudity, bathing, Gabrielle d'Estree, Fontainebleau

With blue clouds + laughterWith Mountains IEmma & Charlie INamita & Zena IIGestures of Demarcation IIIOlga, from Moscow GirlsMasha, from Moscow Girls

For a moment between strangersSecurityShave

London, London

33 Dunloe Street
London, London E2 8J

Text, images, audio, and/or video in the Feminist Art Base are copyrighted by the contributing artists unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.